Wednesday, May 13, 2009
watershed, atlanta, may 4
so, a couple of years ago, a new restaurant opened in atlanta called watershed. it was supposed to be upscale southern food, so i was interested. and since it was the project of one of the indigo girls, that just made it more interesting. heck, i like closer to fine. but i was never in atlanta at a time when i could make the time to go blah blah blah. then their chef was named best chef south at the beard awards, and i had a mission.
so, a confluence of events led to me finally getting back to atlanta, a city that i am frankly not otherwise all that crazy about. first, i was driving to washington dc, so i could plot a course through it on the way home. second, pam's friend jodi just moved there from northern california. third, there were two other places i wanted to go to while there (flip and the dekalb world market). so we had a plan.
so, along with becky and jeremy and jodi and adam, pam and i went to watershed. and as an aside, that was the best way to go to watershed. i'll explain:
most of the places i go to are just me and pam. our strategy is usually that we each get an entree and we share an appetizer and dessert. and by "share," i mean that i get an appetizer and dessert and pam watches me eat it. sue me.
with the crew we had, here is the damage we did to the watershed menu:
there are eight appetizers. we had four.
there are 13 entrees. we had six.
that is, for all intents and purposes, half the menu. that's the way to do it.
here are the entrees we all shared:
-- butter bean hummus with crudites and homemade pita: i thought it was a little chintzy when they brought us only one pita to go with the hummus. but with all the fresh vegetables on the plate -- celery, french radishes, cucumber slice, green beans -- and some feta, we actually didn't even finish the one pita. apparently, they have done this before.
-- saute of wild mushrooms with cheese and country ham on toast: this was small. not sure everyone got to try it. so glad it started at my end of the table. even looking at the photo now, i can't tell you what kind of shrooms were in there, and i didn't ask about the cheese, but it was very assertive. a very good dish, and one that you didn't need a lot of to appreciate.
-- creamy stone ground shrimp grits and pullman plank: possibly the coolest looking piece of toast ever, and interesting grits. the shrimp was actually a flavoring in the grits, so you didn't even see them. in fact, when we asked how it was done, the waitress brought out the chef's cookbook to show us the recipes for the grits and the homemade shrimp paste that went into them. very cool.
-- fried oysters with red pepper catsup: i like oysters, but don't love them. these were fried, and therefore delicious. loved the catsup, too.
on to the entrees.
to quote several of my previous posts: "there was duck on the menu, so guess what i got."
actually, i considered not getting the duck because it was roasted. roasted to me usually means cooked through, and that is not how i prefer duck breast. but the waitress said they could do it medium rare, so i trusted her. and look at the picture. it was medium rare, if that. perfect. very tender. it came with swiss chard and mashed carrots, as well as some figs. all excellent.
pam got the hot vegetable plate, and what wasn't on there? first thing i saw was cauliflower, which is like kryptonite to me. but i tried it. it was ok. it was fried. anything can only be so bad when fried. there was also sauteed cabbage, mashed rutabaga, collards, sweet stewed tomatoes (which were like candy), some butter beans and corn bread. a pretty impressive plate, considering, you know, the lack of meat.
i got to try everyone else's dishes too. all seemed equally excellent. here is what they had:
jeremy: grilled all-natural pork chop with mac-n-cheese and collard greens.
becky: fresh fish of the day, which, on this day, was pan-sauteed flounder, with peas that becky compared favorably to those we had at babbo precisely a year earlier and vidalia onions.
adam: braised lamb shank with butternut squash-sweet potato puree and sauteed spinach. this was the most impressive looking dish on the table. it was described as "flintstonian."
jodi: butternut squash pancakes with braised cabbage and gingered beets. which reminds me: pam and i shared a side of the gingered beets. i liked them. but, it had beets in there. and ginger. so, it had a lot working in its favor.
we killed two bottles of wine, and i have no idea what they were. i like someone to tell me what i want to drink, and jeremy and adam played that role here. both picked whites, so i was happy. i remember that they were out of jeremy's first choice. i liked them both.
for dessert, i had the chocolate pecan praline parfait. it was pretty. it was good. but not the most memorable part of the meal. which is fine.
becky had the cheese plate, and when they said that all the cheeses were from south georgia, jeremy was already starting to plan their next trip to see his family there.
it was a blast of a night. could not even believe what a great time we all had together, and hope we can all do it again. after all, we only ate half the menu.